Nashville Children’s Theatre’s (NCT) 2017 – 2018 season kicks off with a production of The Hundred Dresses, based on the book by Eleanor Estes. I consider myself fairly well read, but I was not familiar with this classic book. I’m so glad Ernie Nolan, NCT’s new Artistic Director, chose this story as his debut production. Focusing on timely subject matter, The Hundred Dresses, led to one of the best conversations I’ve had with my 7 year old in a long time.
The Hundred Dresses, is narrated by a teacher, and tells the story of a new girl that joined her class when she was an elementary school student. Wanda Petronski is from Poland, has an accent, eats different food, wears the same dress day in and day out, and lives on the other side of the tracks. Her differences make her a target and she fights to be accepted. While it is painful to watch the bullying and prejudice, the characters learned more than reading and arithmetic that school year. They learned that words hurt, a little kindness goes a long way, and at the end of the day, they are all just kids, more alike than different. The lessons that Wanda taught her fellow students shaped the rest of their lives.
Mr. Nolan explains why he choose The Hundred Dresses in the Director’s Notes for the production, “I wondered what kind of conversations could be had with young people around the ideas of acceptance and difference.” If he could only have been a fly on the dashboard in my car on the way home…
My daughter, who is in second grade, and I talked about what it must be like to be the new kid not just in school, but also new to this country. This blossomed into a discussion about culture, differences, and even haves and have nots. It was amazing to hear how she felt that her friends and classmates would not only fully accept these differences, but also want to learn about another culture. It was a proud parenting moment. I just hope that this is the norm for her generation and not the exception.
Be sure to arrive a few minutes early for the show. You can create a friendship bracelet to take home and color a dress that NCT will display in the lobby.
If The Hundred Dresses is the standard this season at the Nashville Children’s Theatre, I can’t wait to see what is next.
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Family Fun Facts
Where: Nashville Children’s Theatre, 25 Middleton Street, Nashville, TN 37210 (Map)
Tickets: $20/Adults, $15/Youth Purchase online HERE Save $5 on Adult tickets with promo code: FUNDRESSES
Saturday, Sept 16, 2017 at 2 PM
Saturday, Sept 23, 2017 at 2 PM – Grandparents Day activities before the show and After-Words discussion with the cast and crew after the show
Sunday, Sept 24, 2017 at 2 PM – ASL Sign-Interpreted Performance
Wednesday, Sept 27, 2017 at 1 PM – Homeschool Day
Saturday, Sept 30, 2017 at 2 PM – Sensory-Friendly Performance
Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 2 PM
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